Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a common cause of viral hepatitis worldwide. Previously considered a disease of the developing world, it is increasingly recognised that locally acquired HEV infection is common in industrialised countries.
To highlight the changing epidemiology of HEV infection, particularly in the developed world, and inform clinicians of the diverse clinical presentations and extra-hepatic complications associated with the virus.
References for this review were identified through searches of MEDLINE/PubMed, and Google Scholar, up to January 2020. Searches were restricted to articles published in English.
Hepatitis E virus is an under-recognised, emerging pathogen with important implications for public health in both the developing and developed world. The number of cases reported in resource-rich settings is increasing, in part due to improved case ascertainment but also as a result of increased incidence in some countries. The reasons behind these epidemiological shifts are not currently known. Chronic HEV infection has been reported in immunocompromised patients. A range of extra-hepatic manifestations have also been reported, most notably neurological and renal complications. There is evidence to suggest a causal link with. Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuralgic amyotrophy and encephalitis/myelitis. Glomerular disease has been reported in the context of both acute and chronic infection.
HEV should be included in non-invasive liver screens and considered in the differentials for patients presenting with alanine aminotransferase elevation, suspected drug induced liver injury or decompensated liver disease. Any patients with acute neurological injury and deranged liver function should be tested for hepatitis E, and all patients presenting with Guillain-Barré syndrome or neuralgic amyotrophy should be tested regardless of liver enzymes. Immunocompromised patients with persistently raised liver enzymes should be tested with molecular techniques and offered annual routine screening.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.